Essay on Japanese History

Essay on Japanese History

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A nation’s decision to go to war is not one that can be taken lightly. War requires a great deal of sacrifice and more often than not, results in a great deal of pain for an entire nation. For some, the humiliation of defeat may be worse than any physical pain one car endured. As Pearl Harbor and the Coming of the Pacific War by Akira Iriye shows, Japanese leaders decided that war with the USA was in the best interest of their nation, knowing full well the cost of war. The Japanese leaders` anxiety over the self preservation and self defence of their nation, their anxiety over perceived hostile attitudes from the west, and the importance of making a timely decision on war led them on a path that resulted in war with the USA.
In the 1900`s, Japan had become a major player in world affairs. Their one glaring weakness however, was their lack of natural resources. Japan`s lack of natural resources presented a risk to their self preservation and self defence. Civilians were required “consider substitute food such soybeans” (22) in place of the traditional rice. Steel available for civilian use was “allotted on a priority basis, with the allotment being kept to a minimum” (22) and shipping for civilian use was limited as well. Despite these concessions made by the Japanese civilians, the military had to make concessions of its own to cope with limited resources. Japan had to resort to “take such measures as standardizing and lowering the quality of ships to be built” (21) in order to make resource supply to meet demand. The majority of petroleum products, “the most vital of all energy resources for Japan at that time” (143), were imported into the nation. The Japanese relied heavily on petroleum and they feared that the shortage of...


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...and self defence. The occupation of Manchuria and territories in the south, led to fierce tensions between Japan and the western nations. In an attempt to resolve these differences, Japanese leaders tried very hard to reach peace thru negations while making many concessions along the way. The felt however, that the USA was negotiating in bad faith due to hostilities that it held against Japan. As time passed, the negations were not able to bring these nations any closer to peace. Instead, Japanese leaders saw the passage of time as being detrimental to their survival. They viewed the passage of time as an opportunity for the USA to better prepare for war. All of these events led Japanese to believe that their nations’ existence was in jeopardy. Essentially, Japan was left with the choice of attacking or defending as war had become inevitable; they chose to attack.

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